HDL-bound sphingosine-1-phosphate restrains lymphopoiesis and neuroinflammation.

PMID 26053123


Lipid mediators influence immunity in myriad ways. For example, circulating sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a key regulator of lymphocyte egress. Although the majority of plasma S1P is bound to apolipoprotein M (ApoM) in the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particle, the immunological functions of the ApoM-S1P complex are unknown. Here we show that ApoM-S1P is dispensable for lymphocyte trafficking yet restrains lymphopoiesis by activating the S1P1 receptor on bone marrow lymphocyte progenitors. Mice that lacked ApoM (Apom(-/-)) had increased proliferation of Lin(-) Sca-1(+) cKit(+) haematopoietic progenitor cells (LSKs) and common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs) in bone marrow. Pharmacological activation or genetic overexpression of S1P1 suppressed LSK and CLP cell proliferation in vivo. ApoM was stably associated with bone marrow CLPs, which showed active S1P1 signalling in vivo. Moreover, ApoM-bound S1P, but not albumin-bound S1P, inhibited lymphopoiesis in vitro. Upon immune stimulation, Apom(-/-) mice developed more severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, characterized by increased lymphocytes in the central nervous system and breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. Thus, the ApoM-S1P-S1P1 signalling axis restrains the lymphocyte compartment and, subsequently, adaptive immune responses. Unique biological functions imparted by specific S1P chaperones could be exploited for novel therapeutic opportunities.